Researchers Have Spotted A Huge 'X' Mark On Pluto

NASA has revealed another image of the dwarf planet taken by the New Horizon when it performed its closest flyby of the Pluto on 14th of July last year. In this image, there is a big ‘X’ on Pluto’s surface. NASA says that it marks as a mystery for researchers. This ‘X’ on Pluto nitrogen-ice surface is called as Sputnik Planum.  This Sputnik Planum can be seen in photos captured by the NASA’s New Horizons probe. The surface of Planum is divided into cells or polygons about 10 to 25 miles (16 to 40 kilometers) wide. “This part of Pluto is acting like a lava lamp,” said William McKinnon, deputy lead of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team, from Washington University in St. Louis, “if you can imagine a lava lamp as wide as, and even deeper than, the Hudson Bay.”
Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The Sputnik Planum X shows dark spot where the four cells concide. This dark patch is at its up left side which is like a dirty chunk of water ice floating over nitrogen ice. This image of X is one of the high-resolution photos that New Horizon captured with its telescopic camera from a distance of 10,000 miles or 16,000 kilometers on July 14, about 15 minutes before the probe's closest approach. NASA’s officials combined these images to form an area of about 50 miles wide and more than 400 miles long of Sputnik Planum. The spacecraft sent some of the information and images sometime after the closest flyby in July, most of the information was stored to expose later. And now the board has received about 25 percent of the total information. But many of the high-resolution images including the Sputnik Planum’s image have received now.

The team estimated that the total data will come down to Earth by October or November this year. New Horizon sent these images on 24th of December 2015 to Earth and NASA exposed them on 7th January.  

New Horizon is now heading towards another small object known as 2014 MU69, which is present about 1 billion miles or 1.6 billion kilometers ahead of Pluto. If New Horizon continue to its mission as suggested by NASA, it will make a flyby of 2014 MU69 on the 1st January 2019.
This post was written by Umer Abrar. To contact the author of this post, write to or add/follow him on facebook :

Researchers Have Spotted A Huge 'X' Mark On Pluto Researchers Have Spotted A Huge 'X' Mark On Pluto Reviewed by Umer Abrar on 1/09/2016 Rating: 5

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